Police search home of doping suspect

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German authorities searched the home of cyclist Stefan Schumacher and took away documents for examination after he was exposed as doping during the Tour de France. The Stuttgart Prosecutor's office said today it had started a fraud investigation against the rider. Officials stated that Schumacher tested positive before and during the Tour for CERA, an advanced version of the blood booster EPO. Schumacher, who won both individual time trials at the Tour, could face a two-year ban.

Also embroiled in the Tour de France doping scandal is Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli, who has been given more time to prepare for a hearing after testing positive during the race. The hearing, originally set for tomorrow, has been rescheduled for Oct 22 by the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor. Piepoli had asked for a delay. On Monday, Italian and French officials announced that Piepoli twice tested positive for a version of EPO during this year's Tour de France. His former Saunier Duval teammate, Riccardo Ricco, was banned for two years by CONI last week after admitting to doping during the Tour. The Italian committee and French anti-doping agency said Piepoli failed tests on July 4 and July 15 for CERA, an advanced version of the blood booster EPO. Ricco also tested positive for CERA. Piepoli won the 10th stage of this year's Tour and has 32 victories overall in his career. If found guilty of doping, he could face a two-year ban.

* AP